Recovering from Crape Murder is possible.
Depending upon the severity of the hatchet job there are a couple of different recovery methods. If you refer to my picture of Crape Murder in the Trussville Tutwiler section, this crape is severely damaged. The recommended recovery method is shown in the following drawings.
First, you cut the crape myrtle level to the ground with a chain saw. The best time to do this is March. Crape Myrtles will put out rapid growth as soon as the temperatures warm up in May/June.
The crape myrtle will quickly grow to two or three feet. At that point you will need to select 3 to 5 of the shoots to keep as future trunks and remove the rest of the growth.
With the 3 to 5 shoots that you kept, as they continue to grow year after year, you simply remove all the side branching. Remember, never cut any top growth.
If your crape myrtle has not been so drastically butchered and more closely resembles the picture I took at the entrance way to Greystone, you do not have to cut it to the ground.
When the crape puts out its tangle of branches from being topped, you simply remove and thin most of the branches selecting only one or two new shoots to continue on and removing the rest.